1. EPA and DHA are omega-3 fats that are found in oily fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel and anchovies. They are essential for good health but are usually low in a Western diet.
2. The body can make EPA & DHA from another fat found in flax, hemp, soybean, canola and walnuts. So, in theory, if you eat plenty of these foods you can make enough EPA & DHA to support your health.
3. There are problems with this. Firstly, not many people regularly eat flax and hemp seeds. Secondly, the body needs magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamins A, C & E in order to be able to do this. Magnesium in particular is known to be low in a Western diet. These other essential nutrients are often lacking too.
4. Dietary and lifestyle factors such as stress, high sugar, dieting, alcohol and smoking can also get in the way of this conversion.
5. When you add all these factors together, it becomes unlikely that most people with a typical Western diet and lifestyle will have optimal levels of EPA & DHA without supplementation. Indeed a recent global survey of EPA & DHA found that countries with a typical Western diet have very low blood levels of EPA & DHA, which we now know is damaging to health. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163782715300333
6. To make sure you are getting enough EPA & DHA in your diet, it is best to add in a daily supplement of at least 1000mg omega-3 rich fish oil, which has been thoroughly purified to be free from any contaminants and is shown to be stable too. This helps to support your optimal daily intake.
7. EPA & DHA support balanced inflammation, mood, memory, concentration, skin, energy, sports performance, hormone balance, cardiovascular health and much more.
Glossary of Omega-3 fats:
EPA – Eicosapentaenoic acid
DHA – Docosahecaenoic acid
ALA – Alpha linoleic acid